Lambda Fights to Keep Domestic Partner Benefits in Arizona

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Argues on behalf of five county employees March 13
March 12, 1998

(LOS ANGELES, March 12, 1998) -- On behalf of five employees of Pima County, Arizona, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund is fighting to keep domestic partner health insurance benefits for county workers.

"Like hundreds of public and private employers across the country, Pima County's Board of Supervisors did the right thing for its unmarried employees in providing domestic partner benefits similar to those it gives its married employees," said Jon Davidson, Lambda's attorney on the case and its Western Regional Office supervising attorney. "It's also simple good business -- the City of Tuscon already provides domestic partner benefits to its employees, so the County must provide them to compete."

In March of 1997, the Pima County Board of Supervisors passed a policy providing health insurance benefits to the domestic partners and children of domestic partners of its employees. The Pima County Attorney challenged the policy in July, as she is authorized to do when any resident raises a question about the County's authority to spend public funds.

"Pima County is well within its authority in providing the benefits that so many other government employers now offer," said Davidson.

Lambda is representing five Pima County employees who enrolled their domestic partners in the plan and who have intervened in the lawsuit to advocate that the benefit plan not be overturned. Jon Davidson is being assisted on the case by cooperating attorney Pamela Liberty of the Tucson firm of Liberty, O'Neil & Bibbens.

Lambda won recent victories in Chicago and Atlanta securing domestic partner benefits for city employees and is battling in Oregon and New Jersey for similar packages.

WHAT: Lambda fights to keep domestic partner benefits for Pima County employees
WHO: Jon Davidson, Lambda Western Regional Office, Grace McIlvain, private attorney for Pima County Board of Supervisors
WHEN: Friday, March 13, 11 am M.S.T.
WHERE: Arizona Superior Court, 110 West Congress, Tuscon, AZ

(Lawall v. Pima County, Case No. 320550)


Contact: Peg Byron, 212-809-8585 x 230


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